lab grown

How lab grown diamonds are made?

Ever wonder how lab grown diamonds are made? How the process works? How they’re different from natural diamonds?

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Scientists now have the technology to make synthetic diamonds in a laboratory. They are far cheaper than mined stones, but can they replace the real thing?

It’s the biggest disrupter the diamond industry has faced. Machines are now growing diamonds in a matter of weeks for two-thirds of the price – but can they replace the magic of a mined stone? Could they cause the $82 billion diamond jewelry industry to lose its sparkle?

Sophisticated ads have been making the case for diamonds for decades. De Beers, the world’s biggest rough diamond producer by value, linked diamonds with romance in the late 1940s and dreamt up the idea of a diamond engagement ring as an essential display of love. So-called queen of diamonds Alisa Moussaieff sells gems to the rich and the Royal the world over, and has done for over half a century. For her there’s more to a diamond than its chemical structure.

While sales of lab-grown diamonds are about 2% of the industry, the market is growing by over 15% a year. They’ve actually been around for more than 60 years but recently the process and the product have been refined. California-based Diamond Foundry can create a 1 carat diamond in two weeks.

Though the difference can be detected using specialized equipment in a lab, the US Federal Trade Commission in July 2018, expanded its definition of a diamond to include lab-grown stones – but Mrs. Moussaieff doesn’t feel threatened.

Now buyers can pick up a lab-grown diamond for 1/3 less than a mined stone, and as technology improves, prices will drop further. Big mined stones are valuable because they are rare but diamond mining has been linked to conflict, human rights abuses, and state corruption. Lab-grown diamonds provide an ethically sourced alternative. But until top designers decide to work with lab-grown stones their potential will be limited within the luxury market.

Lab grown diamonds need the glamour and romance associated with mined diamonds if they’re going to survive. It’s a direction the diamond market is already heading. As of January 2019, Tiffany and Co, the biggest jeweler in the world by sales, will disclose the origin of all of its diamonds. It could force a new wave of transparency across the jewelry world – but for the makers of lab-grown diamonds, the jewelry world is only the beginning.

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